Vancouver firm Perkins + Will was announced Wednesday as the winner of an international competition to turn the Edmonton City Centre Airport lands into a residential area.

"This is really going to be a phenomenal development. It's going to be one of the most sustainable, creative developments that exists in the world today," Mayor Stephen Mandel said.

The city will now start negotiating a contract with Perkins + Will to work out details of the design plan, a work schedule and a public consultation strategy.

The concept plan submitted by Perkins + Will for the competition is not the final design and changes will be made over the next 15 months.  Construction is expected to start by 2013.

"We're absolutely thrilled to have a project of this nature," said Joyce Drohan, director of urban design for Perkins + Will.

The firm must now develop a community for 30,000 people that is sustainable and well-served by transit.


This image was also part of the package submitted by winning firm Perkins + Will. (City of Edmonton )

"Just getting a community to carbon neutral is a big enough challenge onto itself, but to actually propose to go beyond carbon neutral, which is what our proposal suggests, is a very large challenge," Drohan said.

Perkins + Will was named in February as one of five finalists in the competition. Last month, the city narrowed the field to three firms.

Perkins + Will was selected by a panel made up of local, national and international experts. City council endorsed the recommendation in a closed-door meeting.